And here’s another bloke on another roof – but what’s that in the sky?…
Michaelangelo Matos: More likeable post-grime-gone-dance-pop, this time around ripping off “Umbrella” in the snares and melody and thrust.
Alfred Soto: So this is where Enrique moonlights when Pitbull’s booked for the month.
Josh Langhoff: I can at least TOLERATE the way he lies, but “love” would definitely be pushing it.
Katie Lewis: I prefer Tinie Tempah when he’s rapping about fame, money and bitches in the club over this particular brand of straightforward autobiographical radio rap, but two things stand out here: the line “I’ve got more hits than a disciplined child” totally made my day, and that soaring bit of chorus is going to be endlessly looping in my brain for at least the next 7 hours.
Jer Fairall: A tense, charismatic rap performance grafted on to a bad-Coldplay power ballad or, given who’s on the “ft.” end of the credit, quite possibly the other way around. Follows the “Love The Way You Lie” template faithfully, but somehow the effect is inverted here: this time, it’s the verses that captivate and the drippy, maudlin chorus refrain that annoys. Still, that piano hook that keeps sneaking in throughout is tres pretty and perhaps just enough to nudge this in the direction of a mildly positive reaction from me.
Zach Lyon: I have no idea who Eric Turner is, but he sort of ruins this. His voice and melody are just irritating, unpleasant to the ears and filled with blank cliches that contain no relevance to Tinie’s verses. It sucks, because Tinie and the beat shine here. I just don’t know why they had to cram the worst affectations of current American pop into a good song.
Katherine St Asaph: Eric Turner auditions for Radames in Aida (Elton, not Verdi), and Tinie does his best to big up a I-made-it-so-can-you boast that reminds me of Eminem’s “Not Afraid” in all the wrong ways. At least this production has a pulse.
John Seroff: This marks the track where I feel I can officially label Tinie Tempah as an artist I will fight to keep outside the ‘Murrican borders. Tempah’s London accented flow ain’t doing more than making the Bizkit limper, Turner’s James Blunt impression is unpleasantly accurate and the contrived fist pump of the production is dopey and leaden. Good work UK; you’ve taken the Young Money formula and reverse engineered your own Tyga. Enjoy him responsibly and please keep him the hell away from US airwaves.
Asher Steinberg: I guess this guy was running out of things to say about getting wasted so he recorded a song about how his big career making hits about getting wasted = EPIC TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY. This song is also really inspiring, because, as it correctly points out, if a black man (to whom Tinie actually likens himself) can be elected President, and Tinie Tempah can become Britain’s hottest recording artist, anything is truly possible.
Kat Stevens: New-found fame is common enough as a subject matter for tracks on a follow-up album, and occasionally follow-up singles. Tinie Tempah went one step further and acknowledged his success in his first single “Pass Out”, with a series of (awesome) hedonistic bragging cliches. However one line stuck out for me: “Now I drive past the bus I used to run for“, a strangely modest and mature statement compared to the rest of it. Tinie doesn’t state that he’s driving a particularly expensive car. Driving a car in itself isn’t a particularly luxury experience (admittedly unless you grew up in a large inner city), especially not if you are going in exactly the same direction that your old bus went. “Ullo Tinie, you gotta new motor? Where are you going to drive to first?” “Well Alexei, I think I’ll just go to my aunt’s house as usual, to pick up some spare pants.” He might have a very very very wild lifestyle, but we are reassured that not only is Tinie still From The Block, but that he hasn’t actually left The Block at all. In “Written In The Stars” Tinie shoves a screwdriver into this sliver of credit-crunch realism and wiggles it around to widen the crack, undermining the previously solid arrogant bling-bragging with the gloomy dry rot warning message. Tinie advises caution to all the kids ‘hungry’ for fame, trying to keep their expectations down to a reasonable level, reminding them about the hard work, inevitable higher-rate taxation and how they’ll miss their families for an underwhelming reward. “Trying to turn a tenner into a hundred grand“: why not a million? People don’t play the lottery to become ‘hundred-thousand-inaires’, especially in times of austerity and hardship. But Tinie knows that before you can aim for the Olympic gold medal you have to qualify for the team. It’s rather depressing and preachy, and Eric’s emo wailing doesn’t jazz it up any (ugh — Mr Hudson has a lot to answer for). Tinie is still firmly stood on the roof of The Block, grimly looking up at the sky, wary of taking the final leap upwards, as if he knows that if he aims too high there’ll be a very bumpy landing awaiting him on the way back down.
Martin Skidmore: Tinie tells us about his harder early life, a subject I always enjoy rappers addressing. This isn’t a particularly compelling or original account, though, and I could really do without Eric Turner’s American rock vocal on the hook. Also, his ludicrously clumsy rhyming is endearing in some contexts, but it makes this more serious lyric completely fatuous. Still, it bounces along well enough.